The Illinois River begins south of Joliet
near Interstate 55
and heads west through Morris
and La Salle
. West of Lasalle, near the Lake DePue Conservation Area (CA), the river begins to head south into Peoria
, then southwest to just below Beardstown
and finally south again emptying into the Mississippi River
The river gives rise to a multitude of recreational areas, including Goose Lake Prarie State Natural Area, William G. Stratton State Park, Gebhard Woods State Park, Illini State Park, Buffalo Rock State Park & Effigy Tumili, Starved Rock State Park, Matthiesen State Park and Spring Lake State Park.